August 12th marks the 25th birthday of the computer that all “PC” users can trace their ancestry to: the IBM PC. I’ll spare you the anecdotes about the choice of MS-DOS over CP/M, or the crappiness of the PC architecture in general, or how project “Acorn” (as it was called) marked a major shift in the way that IBM did business, and ultimately, in the history of technology in general. I also won’t go into detail about how Don Estridge’s decision to get the system out the door fast by using off-the-shelf parts and an open architecture paved the way for all of the PC clones, and led to a PC on pretty much every desk here in 2006. It’s late at night as I’m writing this, and, if you care, you probably already know all about that stuff.
An initial review of the system (thank you google groups, formerly dejanews), is amusing. “even the I/O cards are separate!” So lets take a minute to both curse and praise the folks at IBM, particularly the late Don Estridge, for the legacy left by the IBM model 5150, better known as the IBM PC.
Ahh this is bringing back memories of autoexec.bat, config.sys, emm386.exe, IRQ conflicts, command.com and the like. But my favorite DOS error message (who is general failure, and why is he reading my hard drive?) is an oldie but a goodie for those of this computing generation:
General failure reading drive C:
Abort, Retry, Fail?